What can you watch on TV while having dinner or breakfast? Morning shows? Dramas and soap operas? News? I prefer BBC or Aljazeera. Or Animal Planet. But what actually do we have locally?
I had an opportunity to witness the disaster for quite some days.
While the world is in the 21st century, we are at least a century back. That too in Hijri calendar.
Our dramas and films have only a couple of scripts which are telecasted again and again and again. And you enjoy them every single time with a different taste.
Because there is no learning and no burden on mind. Nothing is like Interstellar, Inception, Fight Club, Lunch Box, etc. where you have to go deep and think to get the story.
Let’s look at ALL the scripts we have.
Love triangle. A confused person, a pakeeza woman and an evil one. The guy will roam from one post to another and in the end will settle with the pakeeza one. The pakeeza one has a very specific role. She will be crying all the time; miserable. If married, she would rather die than be divorced. She will suffer and accept every misery thrown by the pathetic writer. In the end, she will have happiness. Sabr ka phal kinda stuff.
Rich, elite and gentry. The guy, highly successful without any apparent reason, is ready for marriage. He wants to marry A. Parents want to get him married to B. Both A and B are equally shy, good looking, fair and pakeeza. The story will again be of football moving from one post to another until it settles. It is to note that the rich guy is liberal but not liberal. He is conservative but not conservative. He is confused but not confused. Just like he is ultra-rich and we don’t know why. The writer is definitely an arse.
If there is one male protagonist – slim, fair and handsome – then all the female cast will be in love with him. If there is a female protagonist – slim, fair and handsome – then all the male cast will be in love with her. As simple as that. In the end, one wins the trophy based on a knee-jerk script.
Divorce. A woman – divorced or soon-to-be-divorced – will be seen roaming on the roads and in parks and offices. She will suffer, cry and panic. She will lose all her charm and beauty that she had in the beginning of the drama. She will suffer till another guy will come and rescue her. Superman. That superman – slim, fair and handsome – will in the end marry her or will become a very close friend. Close does not mean friends with benefits. But sometimes, the drama hints that way. The message will be clear that women should never get divorced and men shouldn’t worry in any case.
A bad man transforming into a good man through love or religion or both over the series. He can be a murderer or a harasser or a criminal in the beginning of the serial. In the end he will be transformed 180 degrees. The audience will fall in love with him. And if the girl will reject him in the end, she will be a bad woman nonetheless. This script is widely accepted in Pakistan since the 1970s. Ashfaq Ahmad made such dramas. This idea is so worshipped by the country that even the Prime Minister promotes himself along the same lines.
Bad elderly women – phuphos, mamis and saas – throwing tantrums and creating scenes around the script. Blackmailing men. In the end, they all – or at least the major ones – transform and drama ends with all the other above mentioned endings. In the same drama, some good elderly women will be seeing crying all the time.
Sex. This one is part of almost every other script. Even the expressions are horny and lusty in cases. Sometimes incestuous stuff is shown consistently. And the whole drama has this one aspect not for a message or critic or to educate the society; but for sole purpose of rating. Sex sells. Though we don’t accept but yes, it sells here. In morning shows, in news and in dramas.
Script 8 and random:
Love stories of crying. One partner crying and crying and crying till the end of drama. Umera Ahmed stuff.
Misogynist plays with men-in-charge of everything except their emotions.
Property issues. Where the whole cast is trying to snatch a fortune. The one who is not trying, get the fortune in the end,
Nationalism and establishment stuff. Some stuff to keep your goosebums alive. I wrote goosebums. Whatever.
Religion. Whenever a drama is unable to get a grip on the script, religion happens. Miracles. Sufism.
And that’s all.
There may be some scripts – like Indian-copied horror stories – with women as snakes and men as magicians-cum-perverts. Horror story is also based on sex. Nothing else.
There can be some dramas on street life or college life but the script remains intact. Love triangle and misery and tears.
In the end, every single story is the same. Same dilemmas. Same climaxes. Same endings. Everyone is having parties and divorces and properties and extra-marital diggings and stuff. Then another drama. Then another.
I don’t mind parties. Or properties. Or divorces. Or diggings. But that’s not all. And it is not entertainment when it is bogus. Aren’t you tired of these Bermuda-triangles of love, hate and loathing?
If you will dig deep – I mean scripts – every single drama is about sex. This way or that way, it is about sex and unhappiness.
There is no philosophy or intellect involved.
There is no discussion of actual problems.
There is no drama on extremism, intolerance, politics, or even culture and social norms.
There is no drama on real heroes. Nothing historical.
There is no criticism on the prevailing issues, let alone constructive criticism.
Moving forward to awards. The same writers and directors and producers are going to be awarded for showing the exact same stuff again and again. Nothing creative, intellectual or critical wins awards. Followed by speeches of big words.
I don’t know why only Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar is (in)famous. All the writers are doing the same ugly job. Maybe he is a loud-mouth ambassador of the rotten society. And his tone and egoist arrogance. The thing is he is loved. He banging every other journalist with harsh words because he is expected to do that. He does. What else he has? Pathetic scripts and stories.
Maybe the time of intellectualism is over.
Gone are the days of good music. All we have are remixes now. Major hits of Velo Sound Station were remixes. No new good poetry. No new good books. Everything has been sung and written already.
Sometimes I wish they would copy stuff. Make a movie on “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Or copy the content of Rang De Basanti or Swades or Pk. Or make a drama like Bourne, where one of our own Jason Bourne goes rogue. Would be fun.
But we have poor writers who sell patriotism, religion, blasphemy, nationalism, martyrdom, and stuff. They have nothing else to offer. Such content gives them money, cheap fame, and ratings; without an iota of intellect.
Like our morning shows, our dramas are flimsy and lack substance.
Our news – where actual issues are hushed and no one talks about missing people, mutilated dead bodies, dissent, uniformed corruption, etc. – is all about parliamentarians fighting and offering nothing.
Switch off your TV. For news, follow twitter. For entertainment, get Netflix or use other means. Locally, you have nothing but repetitive, mind-numbingly boring and mediocre scrap.